News / Middle East

Anti-Government Protests Spread Across Middle East, North Africa

Yemeni anti-government demonstrators shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Yemen, February 18, 2011
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sana'a, Yemen, February 18, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
Elizabeth Arrott

Demonstrations against long-serving governments continue to roil the Middle East and North Africa Friday from Libya eastward to Bahrain.

In Libya, more protests as well as funerals for those killed in recent unrest were held after midday prayers, and witnesses said demonstrators gathered in the port city Benghazi, a bastion of resentment against the government.

Human Rights Watch said Saturday that 84 people have been killed in recent violence in Libya, many of them in Benghazi.   Graphic videos posted on the Internet have shown shootings described as being inflicted by armed forces against protesters.  

Libyan media are tightly controlled, and the contents of the amateur videos could not be independently confirmed.

Another video purports to show protesters in Tobruk cheering as crowds knock down a government statue.

Libya


In Tripoli, so far largely untouched by the turmoil, Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been at the center of pro-government demonstrations - an apparent attempt to place himself within the context of change demanded in nations across the region.   He recently doubled the salaries of state employees and released 110 people accused of being Islamic militants.  

But from the perspective of having the world's longest-serving leader, protesters view his gestures as missing the point.   The oil-rich nation has a more equitable standard of living than neighboring countries, but it is Mr. Ghadafi's crushing, often arbitrary, political system in place more than 41 years that protesters want changed.

Protests began Tuesday, with Thursday's demonstrations called a "Day of Rage," an echo of protests in Egypt and Tunisia that ended with their leaders stepping down.

Yemen

In Yemen, anti-government rallies were being held for an eighth day Friday.  Stephen Steinbeiser, director of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies in the capital, Sana'a, says the demonstrators show no signs of stopping.  

"It certainly hasn't gotten to the point that Cairo was at a couple of weeks ago, where everything has come to a standstill," said Steinbeiser.  "But it also doesn't seem that it is unfolding in the same way that Cairo unfolded, in the sense of a kind of peaceful - relatively peaceful - positive, people-led movement.  And that's a bit disconcerting."

Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh is accused by protesters of running a repressive regime.  But his authority is far from absolute.   Tribal allegiances, a bid for independence in the south, a sporadic revolt in the north and al Qaida forces in the east complicate any demands for change in the Arab world's poorest nation.

Related report by VOA's Carolyn Presutti

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid